Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Last Lecture

I stayed home sick on Thursday and Friday. Hence the midday blog postings. And while it was a little boring (daytime television sucks the life out of you), it was also restful and productive (in the health-rejuvenation department). Oh, and I discovered I really like soup. I should eat it more often. Or drink it. Hmm. I'll stick with "consume."

I also discovered that I let my guard down a little more when I'm feeling under the weather. I cry when watching House. Seriously. I'm moved by story differently. And I think it's healthy to be a little more vulnerable.

Wednesday night, as I was contemplating calling in sick the next morning, I caught the last few minutes of Primetime with Diane Sawyer. And I cried. So Thursday, while congested and bored, I looked up "The Last Lecture" on YouTube and cried some more.

"The Last Lecture" is typically a lecture series in which profs give a hypothetical deathbed lecture. They give the lecture they would give if it were their last. In the case of Randy Pausch, however, it really was his last. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 47 and given three to six months of good health left, the computer-science prof gave a brilliantly inspiring final lecture to a packed lecture hall at Carnegie Mellon. This was in September. The videotaped lecture quickly became an Internet sensation (thanks to a short article in The Wall Street Journal), his simple talk about childhood dreams sparking something in viewers worldwide.

He's still alive, upbeat, and intent on capturing his life and creating memories for his kids. He knows he's leaving a legacy through his work. I'd argue that his lecture is now probably contributing to that legacy. A book version of his lecture is coming out shortly.

I'm a little envious of his passion. I'm not even a virtual-reality kind of girl, but I'd do my MET (Masters of Entertainment Technology) with him in an instant. Actually, were it not for financial concern, I'd be tempted to pursue higher education at the Entertainment Technology Center he co-founded. Because I love the idea of retaining childlike wonder. I think empowering others to pursue their childhood dreams is an incredible dream of its own. Because valuing individual skills and combining different artistic disciplines in new media sounds like a healthy way of learning to exist in a world where everyone brings something different to the table.

I know it's long, but if you have the time, check out Randy's last lecture. You'll probably cry by the end. And that's perfectly okay. It won't be a depressing cry.

P.S. Diane Sawyer made sure his NFL dream came true.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched part of his lecture on Oprah. And of course cried. In fact most days I watch Oprah, I cry even if it's a happy story! ERG!